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Report: Cardinals and Pujols close to long-term deal

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Report: Cardinals and Pujols close to long-term deal

Postby WebHamster » Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:00 am

St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals and slugger Albert Pujols are reportedly close to a long-term agreement that would pay the All- Star about $100 million over seven years.

According to various reports, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the deal could be announced before Friday, when Pujols and the Cardinals are scheduled for an arbitration hearing.

Pujols, 24, had been seeking a raise from $950,000 to $10.5 million, with the team countering at $7 million.

According to a report on the Post-Dispatch's web site, the deal is contingent upon deferred compensation. The story also said Pujols could accept a three- year deal worth about $34 million, if terms on the long-term pact cannot be completed.

An eighth-year option for $11 million is also reportedly on the table.

Pujols won the 2003 batting crown with a .359 average for the Cardinals, who finished third in the NL Central behind the Chicago Cubs and Houston. He added 43 homers and 124 RBI, and was second in the NL MVP balloting behind Barry Bonds.

It was the third-consecutive eye-popping offensive season for the former NL Rookie of the Year, who batted .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI in 161 games during his rookie season in 2001.

He had played in 157 games during each of the last two seasons, batting .314 in 2002 with 34 homers and 127 RBI.

Pujols has primarily played left field for the Cardinals, but has also spent parts of 126 games at first base in his career with the team.

The Cardinals traded first baseman Tino Martinez to Tampa Bay in the offseason and may look to permanently move Pujols to the infield, where he has committed seven errors in those 126 games.
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